Friday, July 10, 2009

In the early evening Georg took us into Los Organos to see the fireworks in celebration of St. Peter, the patron saint of the fisherman. We drove along the beach in the "boogy". It was a

fun ride but by the time we got there, we were covered with sand.

We first stopped at the home of Perico, a long time fisherman and patriarch of a large extended family. He was originally a butcher but after 25 years in the business he had a heart attack and decided to do something he loved. He supports the entire extended family by fishing. He fishes every day from four or five in the morning until around 10a.m. from a raft made from 5 lightweight logs about 12 feet long. His catch is mostly calamari and shrimp. He also helps some of the other fishermen unload their catch directly to the beach and thus avoiding the tax collected on the pier. In exchange, he often gets a fresh tuna or marlin.

Perico is one of the elders of the community; well known and respected. He is the "go to" guy when you need something as he has the connections. We were honored to be invited to share a beer with him. He started to send his daughter for glasses for each of us, when we said we enjoyed the Peruvian custom of drinking beer with friends. The custom is this; the host opens the bottle and pours a share into a glass. He then passes on the bottle while he enjoys his drink. When he is done, he flicks whatever remains in his glass to the ground and passes the glass on to the person holding the bottle. Then this person pours himself a portion and passes the bottle on, etc. The only change in the routine is for a woman; the glass is poured for her and passed to her. The bottle is then passed to the next person in line. Our host then served a platter of calamari and shrimp from his catch that day. Despite the fact that the calamari were whole, tentacles and all, it was very tasty. He also served us a bowl of chifles; a traditional treat of banana chips.
Things were relatively quiet in Los Organos until about 10:30 when more and more people moved into the street and walked toward the town square. The fireworks were supposed to start at 8pm but didn't actually happen until around 11:00. At this point a huge crowd of all ages had gathered around. In the square itself there was a special band that had been brought in for the festivities. The organizers were selling tickets into the square itself for dancing and the true fiesta. It was midnight when we left and they still hadn't let anyone into the square; the party hadn't really started.
There were food stalls, souvenir and carnival type stalls. The roads into town were clogged with mototaxis, cars, and people trying to get through. We tasted anticuchos (skewers of beef heart) that had been cooked over a hibachi type grill.

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